Senate given okay to weigh Nevada judge nominee

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate has been given the okay to begin considering Las Vegas attorney Jennifer Dorsey to become a federal judge in Nevada, officials said Monday.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., gave the green light to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, before senators began a two-week Easter recess, his spokeswoman said.

He did so by submitting the traditional blue slip that committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., requires in order to schedule a confirmation hearing.

While allowing the nomination to proceed, Heller has not indicated whether he would support Dorsey, a civil law attorney with the firm of Kemp, Jones & Coulthard LLP. She was nominated to succeed U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks, who has taken senior status.

“As she moves through the confirmation process, he will continue to evaluate her nomination,” an aide said Monday.

Dorsey, who was nominated last September at the suggestion of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., would if confirmed fill one of two vacancies on the seven-judge Nevada court.

` Clark County Judge Elissa Cadish earlier this month withdrew from consideration for the second vacancy after Heller blocked the Judiciary Committee from holding a confirmation hearing in a dispute over her views on gun rights.

The Senate this month confirmed Las Vegas attorney Andrew Patrick Gordon to fill a third federal court vacancy.